The U.S. Defense Department has adopted a series of ethical principles for the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), following recommendations from leading AI experts.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper says the U.S. must speed up adoption of AI for national security use and to win on future battlefields.
The Defense Department says it is committed to the ethical use of AI that promotes innovation while protecting civil liberties, privacy, and American values.
According to the Defense Department, the ethical principles align with President Trump's national strategy of leading the world in the lawful and ethical use of AI.
The principles cover five major areas:
- Responsible. Defense Department personnel will exercise appropriate levels of judgment and care, while remaining responsible for the development, deployment, and use of AI capabilities.
- Equitable. The Department will take deliberate steps to minimize unintended bias in AI capabilities.
- Traceable. The Department’s AI capabilities will be developed and deployed such that relevant personnel possess an appropriate understanding of the technology, development processes, and operational methods applicable to AI capabilities, including with transparent and auditable methodologies, data sources, and design procedure and documentation.
- Reliable. The Department’s AI capabilities will have explicit, well-defined uses, and the safety, security, and effectiveness of such capabilities will be subject to testing and assurance within those defined uses across their entire life-cycles.
- Governable. The Department will design and engineer AI capabilities to fulfill their intended functions while possessing the ability to detect and avoid unintended consequences, and the ability to disengage or deactivate deployed systems that demonstrate unintended behavior.
There are existing guidelines for ethical behavior in the military, but the use of AI raises new ambiguities and risks, according to the military. The Defense Department says the newly adopted principles address the challenges and ensure the responsible use of AI technology.
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